The western slopes of Mount Alexander, near Harcourt, present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for investment — a former pine plantation (degraded public land) available at the end of plantation lease. It is an ideal location (close to Melbourne, great transport connections) in a region already boasting quality tourism services, in a beautiful landscape (the Victorian Goldfields) and possessing all the characteristics behind the success stories of world-class mountain parks (topography, scenery, terrain and accessibility).
In late 2013, the Victorian Government’s Regional Growth Fund (administered by Regional Development Victoria) allocated funding to Goldfields Tourism Incorporated (GTI) to investigate the development of a world-standard mountain bike park. This first stage involved establishment of a steering committee to oversee a feasibility study and develop a master plan for the park design.
We are waiting on a funding announcement some time in 2015.
Workshops, stalls, generators, community apple juicing, cafe, and much more. And good on everyone who pedalled the generators!
The project helped local households to calculate their carbon emissions from electricity, gas, travel and waste and then pledge to cut those emissions and work together to find ways to reduce them.
MASG worked with the CSIRO and our Shire’s four main employers to investigate ways to reduce their greenhouse footprints by 30 per cent by 2010, while increasing energy security for the area.
We signed an MOU with BSG, and ran information sessions and promoted the benefits of solar PV. Our ‘preferred suppliers’ were selected after inviting every known solar PV supplier in Central Victoria – and two Melbourne-based suppliers – who we believed offered good panels and inverters, and quality service to customers.
Working with the community’s tradespeople, businesses, workplaces, groups and householders to make improvements to homes so that they are more comfortable and with lower power bills.
Finding our Power Community Forum
In 2008 the Finding our Power Community forum enabled the community to come together to share ideas and discuss opportunities for the renewable energy future of the Mount Alexander Shire. Participants were invited from within the MASG membership as well as representatives from prominent community organisations, business and local government.
Challenge to Change
Challenge to Change unfolded in the Shire in May 2008. Engaging over 70 businesses, eight churches, 14 schools and the Mt Alexander Shire Council and dozens of households, C2C was a month-long program of energy monitoring and reduction that aimed to demonstrate that communities can rapidly reduce greenhouse emissions.
A MASG initiative funded by the Australian Greenhouse Office, the Low CO2 Project supported local businesses to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint via an energy assessment.
The Solar Display Home created a local example for home builders and renovators, and for the people in the housing industry, demonstrating that homes and gardens built on sustainability principles can be comfortable, attractive and cost less to run over time. It was open to the public for six months.
Culminated in the Don KRC Free Family Day in the Botanical Gardens. Around 600 people attended, and the weather was near perfect after a shaky start to the day. The variety of bikes needed to be seen to be believed.
MASG took orders for worm bins that were delivered during the Festival of the Wheel in 2008.
The Carbon Neutral Castlemaine State Festival 2007 was a great launching pad to promote carbon neutrality and engage with Castlemaine businesses, State Festival patrons and the wider Mount Alexander community.